5th July and 7th July 2023
Sadly, there has been no further progress in settling the ongoing pay dispute between the Department for Education and the teaching unions. Since the last strike days the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) has completed its annual report and recommended a 6.5% pay award, still below the prevailing rate of inflation which is 8.7% this month. This seems to represent something of a ‘landing zone’ to resolve this dispute but there are also ominous mutterings that this recommendations might not be accepted by government with reports that the Prime Minister is hinting at blocking these recommendations. In any case the NEU has announced strikes on 5th and 7th July next week and parents and carers should prepare themselves for these to be widely supported amongst teachers at the Trust in support of their pay claim. We aim to provide information to families about teachers intentions by Friday but, as mentioned below, teachers do not have to inform the Trust about what they are doing and all we can report is that these staff are ‘undeclared’ as reagrds their intention to strike. As I say below: ‘This is a wholly unsatisfactory state of affairs for all of us but we would repeat that this situation is out of our control and, if they have concerns, parents and carers should contact their MP to make suggestions as to how the government might properly pay our teachers and attract new staff to the profession’. With the other teachers unions now balloting for strike action I cannot remember a similar situation occurring in the 35 years I have been in the profession. I wish I had better news to share but it is beyond the power of leaders within the Trust to do more than we have done. Let us hope that a way forward becomes clear soon.
27th April and 2nd May 2023
Following the last strike days all teaching unions met with the DfE for two weeks of talks and from those talks a further pay offer emerged. That revised pay offer of an additional £1000 to add to the 2021-22 offer was then put to union members. All four unions involved in the dispute, the National Education Union (NEU), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), the NASUWT, and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), have now rejected that offer. The NEU rejected the offer with a 98% voting against accepting. Teachers in Wales and Scotland have now settled their pay claims and will continue to earn more than English teachers in the future.
This now means that there will be further days of strike action in Pegasus schools. The first will be next Thursday 27th April and the second will be Tuesday 2nd May. Our NEU reps have told us that although they informed us before the March strike days about which teachers were taking action they will not be doing the same this time, as they are perfectly entitled to do under the law. Leaders at our schools can ASK staff about their intentions but they do not have to tell us. Therefore when we issue letters about which classes will be open we will have to have three categories – ‘Open’, ‘Closed’ and ‘Undeclared’. Parents in classes where staff have not declared what they are doing should not make any assumptions about the class being open and should have other arrangements in place for their child’s care on those days. This is a wholly unsatisfactory state of affairs for all of us but we would repeat that this situation is out of our control and, if they have concerns, parents and carers should contact their MP to make suggestions as to how the government might properly pay our teachers and attract new staff to the profession. It is beyond the power of Pegasus staff to resolve this dispute. Children who are not at school on either of the two days should continue to work from activities on the Trust’s online learning page. Some trips and activities that would have taken place on these strike days will be rearranged to take place on another day.
15th and 16th March 2023
Unfortunately the dispute between the NEU and the Department for Education (DfE) has not yet been resolved and we are now faced with two further days of strikes this week. As with previous strike days the Trust has given parents details, in good time, about which classes will be open and which ones will not and we will be providing a school meal option for those in need over these two days. It is true to say that there was disappointment amongst both union members and leadership at the Trust when the chance of talks at the arbitration service ACAS was passed up as we really do feel that all of us want this dispute settled and to get back to teaching the children. We very much hope that a solution might be found by the Chancellor, the Education Secretary and the union leaders this week. These strikes are designed to make the union’s case felt on budget day, today, and beyond. It is true to say though that the situation could still worsen in the future and we now read that the Headteachers union, the NAHT, may also be seeking to reballot its members for strike action. No further strikes have been announced but we are not foolish enough to think that this will remain the case if there is no progress in this dispute and we know that there are futher stages of escalation that might be applied and we do all need to be prepared for this. As stated in the updates below it is not in the power of staff at the Trust to resolve this dispute and parents and carers should contact their MP to give their views and not employees of the Trust or MACs. Children who are not at school on either of the two days should work from activities on the Trust’s online learning page. We return to normal schooling on Friday 17th March.
31st January 2023
All parents and carers will now have had a letter from their own school telling them which classes are open and which are closed for tomorrow – Wednesday 1st February. Please check the ‘Newsletters and other communications’ section of your own school’s website if you are unsure. Children who are at home may wish to undertake some of the activities on the Trust’s online learning page. In most cases they will be able to access these sites using their normal log in details which are in their reading diaries. If you are having any problems with the username/password to get onto the Pegasus Online Learning Websites please email your child’s name, school, class and the website you are trying to log into along with the username and password you are using to email@example.com
We will be providing hot lunches as normal for children who are attending and also packed lunches for collection for those who have an entitlement to meals and have requested them. We thank our caterers, Harrison’s, for their help with this. All classes will reopen at the normal time on Thursday 2nd February.
24th January 2023
We wrote to parents last Tuesday about the vote for strike action that had been announced by the NEU and the possible impact of this vote on our schools (see news story of 17th January below). Having now met at each site with the teachers who are members of the NEU it is clear that there is a real strength of feeling regarding the issues of teachers’ pay, teacher recruitment and school funding and that many teachers in the Trust will take action on the 1st February. We are mindful of the requirement to take all reasonable steps to keep our schools open for as many pupils as possible and so where staff are available their classes will remain open on each site. However, we need to give parents and carers early notice that the majority of classes, and some entire sites, within the Trust will be closed on the first strike day – Wednesday 1st February. Given that the strike has been heavily supported for this first strike day we think it is reasonable to assume that there will be further disruption on the three strike days that follow – 2nd March, 15th March and 16th March.
The Heads at each school will write to parents tomorrow (Wednesday 25th January) with details of classes that we currently expect to be both open and closed. However, any NEU member is entitled to join the strike right up until the last day and so the arrangements stated in the letters may be subject to change and this is beyond our control. As stated below this dispute is between the NEU and Secretary of State for Education and is very much out of the Trust’s hands. Classes that are open will be taught, as normal, by a qualified teacher with fully accredited Designated Safeguarding Leads available to ensure the children’s safety. We are pleased to have been able to give a full week’s notice for classes that will be closed and hope for a speedy resolution of this dispute between the NEU and the DfE.
17th January 2023
Many of you will have read in the news today that teachers who are members of the National Education Union (NEU) have voted in favour of strike action as a result of a national dispute with the Secretary of State for Education over teachers’ pay and school funding. The days currently planned for strike action in our region are:
- Wednesday, 1st February
- Thursday, 2nd March
- Wednesday, 15th March
- Thursday, 16th March
This planned action may result in us not being able to open to some or all pupils on those days. We are currently working across our Trust to ascertain the likely impact on our schools on those days and I will write to you again once we know more.
We appreciate that this industrial action could cause disruption to the learning of our children and young people and that families might have to make alternative arrangements for childcare during these days. We are sorry for the inconvenience this may cause but this dispute is with the Secretary of State for Education and is very much out of the Trust’s hands.
We will do our best to open to as many pupils as possible on those days, where it is safe to do so. However, the Trust are always keen to keep parents and carers updated so I thought it would be helpful to let you know as early as possible that, unfortunately, it may not be possible to admit your child on those days and give you the opportunity to consider alternative arrangements should these be necessary.
We will write again closer to the time when we know a little more.